EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

05.16.07

Speculation: Did Microsoft Try to Get Sun to Sue Linux? (Updated)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Minix, SUN, UNIX at 12:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

We already know (or should know by now) that Microsoft funded SCO’s lawsuits against Linux users, at least in part. We also know that Microsoft tried to get the inventor and creator of Minix to sue Linus/Linux, essentially by persuading a writer to insert something into a book. Here is the gist of the story:

Andrew S Tanenbaum: A couple of years ago this guy called Ken Brown wrote a book saying that Linus stole Linux from me, from Minix, and therefore the intellectual property rights are unclear and therefore companies shouldn’t use Linux because I might sue them.

It later came out that Microsoft had paid him to do this — and I defended Linus. I wrote on my Web site saying that this guy Brown came through, visited me and I gave him the [correct] story.

This one story has a happy ending (except for Microsoft, which was caught red-handed).

Today, Pamela Jones (of Groklaw) has a little insight. Based on Jonathan Schwarz’s blog, she suspects that Microsoft may have tried to encourage Sun to sue Linux (the infamous ‘proxy manoeuvre’). Here is what Jonathan says…

Years back, Sun was under pressure in the market.

[...]

With business down and customers leaving, we had more than a few choices at our disposal. We were invited by one company to sue the beneficiaries of open source. We declined. We could join another and sue our customers. That seemed suicidal.

Notice that here you have the same dilemma that Microsoft (maybe even Novell) is now facing. Can they scrutinise their own customers? In any event, here is Pamela’s take, which relates to what got this impulsive post started.

PJ: This is interesting in its own right, but my paralegal hat on, I am also highlighting it for anyone thinking about an antitrust lawsuit someday. I’m wondering if Microsoft tried to get Sun to sue Linux end users. I don’t know if that is what he is alluding to here, but if I were in discovery, I’d surely investigate that possibility, as it could help show a pattern of using, or trying to use, surrogates to misuse litigation as an anticompetitive weapon.

Might Microsoft be pulling the same tricks in its fight against Google? It sure looks like it.

After a government- and monopoly-inspired period in which Microsoft had to pretend to be a gentle force for global good, the company is being forced to return to its ruthless roots. Ironically, it is doing this in part by decrying the unfair practices of a competitor and shamelessly sucking up to the Establishment.

As you may recall, Microsoft urged companies to sue Google over its YouTube content. Later on, Microsoft closed its YouTube equivalent (Soapbox) to subscribers because it had encountered and suffered from the same issues that earlier it decried. Need we even mention Microsoft’s attempt to shoot down the DoubleClick acquisition? Need we repeat Microsoft’s argument that Google is a monopoly? Where does hypocrisy begin and where does it end?

Update: The Register concurs and reaches similar speculations. It does not go quite so far however.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

7 Comments

  1. jbelkin said,

    May 16, 2007 at 1:47 pm

    Gravatar

    MS should be subpeonaed over the SCO issue also … and I’m sure MS has been in the last few years copying code fromtheir own apps and inserting into Linux so they can sue.

  2. shyboy said,

    May 16, 2007 at 2:10 pm

    Gravatar

    it’s a sad news to open source, but microsoft can’t Destroy Linux Community

  3. tom said,

    May 16, 2007 at 2:16 pm

    Gravatar

    Microsoft is still under scrutiny for the original ant-trust lawsuit: Complaints to:
    http://www.microsoft-antitrust.gov/

  4. Joe Polk said,

    May 16, 2007 at 2:43 pm

    Gravatar

    I’ve said time and again. Microsoft is inherently evil. Like kicking puppies!

  5. gpl1 said,

    May 16, 2007 at 5:23 pm

    Gravatar

    current antitrust remedies have not proven effective against the giant. Here’s to hoping that the EC and Neelie Kroes can do something more to return competition to marketplace since DoJ attorneys can’t even investigate anything for fear of getting fired by the executive branch/bush…

  6. Motorcycle Guy said,

    May 16, 2007 at 5:41 pm

    Gravatar

    truthfully I’m more scared of google than I ever was of microsoft. to me a wolf in sheeps clothing is worse than a wolf that looks like a wolf walks like a wolf and is a wolf.

  7. Allan said,

    May 16, 2007 at 7:13 pm

    Gravatar

    > truthfully I’m more scared of google than I ever
    > was of microsoft.

    You are not thinking rationally. You are putting more weight on Google’s potential evil than Microsoft’s demonstrated evil.

    That’s like renting a room next to your daughter’s to a creepy-looking man with no record rather than the clean-shaven fellow who happens to be on Meagan’s list.

What Else is New


  1. Links 30/8/2016: Fedora 24 Reviewed, Ubuntu Patched

    Links for the day



  2. Links 29/8/2016: Linux 4.8 RC4, Maru OS Source Code

    Links for the day



  3. Let Them Eat Patents

    A reality check regarding software patents and regarding those who truly benefit from an expensive patent system with an even more expensive litigation process/proceedings



  4. Nothing Whatsoever Has Improved at the European Patent Office, It's Just Summer's Recess (and Silence)

    The European Patent Office (EPO) has done absolutely nothing to improve the work atmosphere, it just alters the marketing strategy somewhat



  5. Links 28/8/2016: Q4OS 1.6, ConnochaetOS 14.2

    Links for the day



  6. The United States Has Gotten Over Software Patents

    A roundup of new articles about software patents in the United States, 2 years into the post-Alice era (the US Supreme Court deeming patents on software too abstract to have merit)



  7. More Lies From President Benoît Battistelli and the EPO Crisis Which Continues to Deepen

    The European Patent Office (EPO), collectively speaking, is still wrestling with a Battistelli infiltration (a circle of high-level managers) which habitually lies and viciously attacks those who dare counter these lies



  8. Links 27/8/2016: Torvalds and GPL, “DOD Must Embrace Open-Source Software”

    Links for the day



  9. Links 26/8/2016: Maru OS Resurfaces, Android More Reliable Than 'i' Things, PC-BSD Becomes TrueOS

    Links for the day



  10. Good Job, David Kappos, Says the 'Boss' (IBM)

    Responses to the latest call against Alice (eliminator of many software patents), courtesy of the man from IBM (still paid by IBM) who was responsible for the policy that blindly approved a lot of software patents in the US



  11. Being for Patent Quality or Against Patenting Excess Does Not Make You Anti-Patents

    Like IAM, which tries to portray sceptics and critics of software patents as "anti-patents", IP Watchdog (or Watchtroll as we call it) is 'trolling' the Electronic Frontier Foundation, simply because it expressed an opinion that patent maximalists cannot tolerate



  12. Erosion of Patent Quality Enables Patent Extortion With Large Portfolios of Low Validity Rate

    Revisiting the EPO's vision of poor patent examination and the effect of discriminatory granting practices, favouring patent bullies such as Microsoft (which actively attacks Linux using low-quality and usually pure software patents)



  13. The EPO's Francesco Zaccà Presenting in Turin Alongside Patent Trolls (Like the Patent Mafia Sisvel) and Lobbyists/Front Groups for Software Patents, UPC

    Benjamin Henrion (FFII) on seeing the EPO alongside patent trolls and other nefarious actors, doing what they do best, which is undermining public interests and harming patent quality



  14. The EPO, USPTO, and Patent Microcosm Peddle Myths About Patents in Public Universities and Research

    Tackling some of the commonly-spread myths about patents as "saving lives" and "promoting research" (in practice leading to the death of poor people and promoting trolls)



  15. Large Corporations' Lobbyist David Kappos Disgraces Former Employer USPTO by Meddling in Their Affairs on Software Patents, Downplaying the Supreme Court

    The latest lobbying from David Kappos, who blatantly exploits his connections in patent circles to promote software patents and work towards their resurgence after Alice v CLS Bank



  16. Journal of Intellectual Property Law and Practice Calls the European Patent Office “Rotten”, Other Sources Scrutinise Recent Moves

    The patent office which was once known for being the best bar none is rotting under the Frenchman Benoît Battistelli, who made himself and his friends the main clients of the Office



  17. PTAB Emerges as Hero of USPTO Because Quality of Patents Improves, Software Patents Are Effectively Dead (or Dying Once Reassessed)

    With help from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) -- not just patent courts -- software patents drop like flies by the thousands



  18. Creative Technology, Now Operating in 'Patent Troll' Mode, Shot Down by the ITC; Jawbone Too Shot Down

    Some good news from the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), which may have put an end to Creative's new war on Android (using old patents)



  19. Corporate Media in India Misrepresents Startups to Push for Software Patents

    A parade of misinformation as seen in Indian (but English-speaking) press this week as questions about patentability of software resurface



  20. Links 25/8/2016: Linux Turns 25, NetworkManager Turns 1.4

    Links for the day



  21. Links 24/8/2016: More From LinuxCon, Uganda Wants FOSS

    Links for the day



  22. Links 23/8/2016: GNOME 3.22 Beta, Android 7.0 Nougat

    Links for the day



  23. The Linux Foundation Gives Microsoft (Paid-for) Keynote Position While Microsoft Extorts (With Patents) Lenovo and Motorola Over Linux Use

    This morning's reminder that Nadella is just another Ballmer (with a different face); Motorola and Lenovo surrender to Microsoft's patent demands and will soon put Microsoft spyware/malware on their Linux-powered products to avert costly legal battles



  24. Not Just President Battistelli: EPO Vice-Presidents Are Still Intentionally Misrepresenting EPO Staff

    Evidence serving to show that EPO Vice-Presidents are still intentionally misrepresenting EPO staff representatives and misleading everyone in order to defend Battistelli



  25. Battistelli the Liar Causes a Climate of Confrontation in French Politics, Lies About Patent Quality (Among Many Other Things)

    Battistelli's lies are coming under increased scrutiny inside and outside the European Patent Office (EPO), where patent quality has been abandoned in order to artificially elevate figures



  26. The Collapse of Software Patents and Patent Law Firms Trying to “Overcome” Alice

    The United States continues its gradual crackdown on software patents (which are viewed as abstract and thus unpatentable), whereas in Europe things are murkier than ever



  27. Apple's Patent Wars Against Android/Linux Make Patent Trolls Stronger

    Apple's insistence that designs should be patentable could prove to be collectively expensive, as patent trolls would then use a possible SCOTUS nod to launch litigation campaigns



  28. Links 22/8/2016: Linux 4.8 RC3, Linux Mint 18 “Sarah” KDE Beta

    Links for the day



  29. Links 21/8/2016: Apple and Microsoft Down, Systemd Spreading to Mount

    Links for the day



  30. Links 20/8/2016: Android Domination, FSFE summit 2016

    Links for the day


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts